Cathedral Termite Mounds
Invertebrates are animals without backbones. They dominate Australian marine and terrestrial ecosystems in terms of volume and diversity. Estimates put the number of land invertebrates up to 300,000, which covers insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, worms, slaters and land hoppers.
The most common land invertebrates include the five largest insect orders: Hemiptera (true bugs), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and Coleoptera (beetles). Interestingly, 80 per cent of all the cicadas, leafhoppers, true bugs and ants are endemic to the region, whilst a third of all foliage feeding insects in Australia depend on native Eucalypts and Acacias.
The country’s vast arid environments have contributed to the high diversity of ants, where amazingly, 100 different species frequently occur within a single hectare. Further north in the tropical savanna climate, termite mounds dominate the landscape in parts and have to seen to be believed, at six metres high.